Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Reviews...who needs ’em?

Sadly, we writers do, and they’re hard to get, especially ones that will give you a lot of exposure. But what if you’re lucky enough to get a high-profile review and then the verdict comes back negative? As Vicki wrote, it happened to her. What do you do?

Well, since I’m particularly brain dead this week, I’ve got a round-up of some truly bad reviews for your delectation. Some are truly cringe-worthy...

For Verdi’s Rigoletto, one of the most popular operas ever (it contains “La donna e mobile”, the most famous and familiar opera aria): The Times of London accused Verdi of “imitations and plagiarisms” and concluded by calling Rigoletto “the most uninspired, the barest, and the most destitute of ingenious contrivance. To enter into an analysis would be a loss of time and space.”

Robert Benchley (the American journalist) once attended the Broadway premiere of an unfortunate play. At one point a telephone began to ring on the unpopulated stage... “I think that’s for me,” Benchley declared. He then rose from his seat and left the theater.

Tennyson’s poem “Maud” — which dealt with love, murder, suicide, madness, and hysteria — was met by critics with considerable hostility. Indeed, one reviewer declared that the poem’s title contained an extraneous vowel — and that it made little difference which was deleted.

Heywood Broun once composed a review describing the performance of Geoffrey Steyne as “the worst to be seen in the contemporary theater” — and was promptly sued by the stricken actor. With the case still pending, Broun was called upon to review yet another play in which Steyne was starring. “Mr. Steyne's performance,” Broun wryly observed, “was not up to his usual standard.”

And finally for pop music fans...Prince was no great fan of Michael Jackson’s later work. “Michael Jackson’s album was only called ‘Bad,’” he once remarked, “because there wasn’t enough room on the sleeve for ‘Pathetic.’”

1 comment:

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks Rick. Gave me a laugh.